First-time cruiser? The tips you need to know
Booking your very first cruise might seem a little overwhelming, as there are so many options and more than enough information to overload your brain. Here’s a guide to getting your first cruise right so it’s a breeze onboard.
Book through a specialist
It is easy to see a cheap cruise deal online and jump at the offer, but if this is only your first cruise, it pays off to consult a travel agent that will make sure you end up on the cruise line vessel that is just right for you.
Travel agencies that are specialised to specifically sell cruises will most likely be the ones who offer the greatest knowledge and be inquisitive enough to book the cruise that’s perfect for you.
Get to know your fellow passengers
To someone who has never travelled on a cruise liner before, every holiday ashore on offer can look the same. They’re not, of course and different lines are made to attract completely different types of people.
Getting to know the type of cruise lines that are on offer and who they attract can tell you what you can expect while onboard. There are many different types of demographics you’re likely to find on a cruise – from university students to retirees, and large groups to solo travellers.
If you’re interested in ensuring you’re connected to likeminded people, then checking out which cruise is best suited to you is the smartest and safest option.
Try a mini-cruise
Short cruises are cheaper and are often easier to travel on if you’re wanting to ‘sample’ a line before you jump head in to an 11-day voyage!
Cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and P&O offer ‘samplers’ out of Australian ports with one to three nights onboard. The offers on deck are much similar to longer cruises but slightly adjusted so you get a taste of everything.
Get organised! No excuses
Having a rough idea of what you want to do while on your voyage is necessary if you want to do as much as possible while cruising. To avoid exhaustion, boredom or even an empty, cashless pocket then research the ports you are docking at, the excursions on offer for you and the activities on board.
Most cruise ships offer special tours of the whole vessel on the first day, which is specifically aimed at first-timers. It’s a good idea to opt for one of these in order to get to know your ship a little bit better.
Don’t be afraid to complain
If you are onboard and are unhappy with something, such as the location of your cabin, your seating allocation at dinner or even a dirty deck – do not suffer in silence. Most of these things can be fixed. If you’re having issues with your dinner partners, speak to the head waiter – they are used to dealing with sticky situations so that everyone has the smoothest ride possible. For any other problems, visit the friendly staff behind the reception desk as they are there to help.
Take your own tea bags
This tip may seem a little strange, but cruise lines only tend to stock brands that you have never heard of, except for Lipton’s Yellow Label tea bags. Don’t be afraid to bring your own, especially if you have a favourite brand or flavour.
Either way, do not expect to have a nice, steaming cuppa. A lot of the time, the boilers are never hot enough on a cruise ship at the buffets. Although Aussie cruise lines are a little better than other international cruise ships, don’t expect too much better and be prepared to be disappointed.
All in all, enjoy your time on board, it never lasts for as long as you would like it to. After your first, you’ll be booking in a new cruise date before you have even gotten home!
What are some of your cruise tips for newbies if you have tried one out? Let us know in the comments below.
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